The international specialization pattern of the Italian local economic systems: Concentration or diversification?
We study the evolution of specialization patterns of the Italian provinces over 1995-2005 by analyzing the dynamics of the sectoral distribution of the Balassa index of revealed comparative advantages for several manufacturing sectors. Our results show that behind a relatively stable distribution of national comparative advantages over time, there are wide variations in local performances: only a few provinces strengthened their specialization patterns over the last decade, while the majority of them slightly weakened their specialization patterns. We also find a higher average degree of persistence for district provinces, but no systematic differences between provinces with and without industrial districts. We find a variety of behaviour for provinces with industrial districts in the footwear, textiles and clothing and machinery industries: a few of them are concentrating on their past comparative strengths, while many others are changing their specialization patterns.
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